Progress made on Ukraine grain deal at Istanbul talks: Russia

Parties 'managed to formulate some elements of possible agreements,' says Foreign Ministry.

Progress made on Ukraine grain deal at Istanbul talks: Russia

Quadrilateral talks in Istanbul on Ukrainian grain exports led to progress toward “possible agreements,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

There were substantive discussions on the issue between the four sides – Russia, Ukraine, the UN, and Türkiye, according to ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

The parties “managed to formulate some elements of possible agreements, which are now being worked out by Russia, Ukraine, and Türkiye,” she said at a news conference in Moscow.

Negotiations are supposed to continue in the same format later, she added.

After Wednesday’s meeting, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the discussions were “positive and constructive,” with all sides agreeing to establish a coordination center in Istanbul to facilitate Ukrainian grain exports.

He said the participants found common ground on technical issues, such as the safety of shipping routes for grain ships, as well as joint controls at entry and exit of ports.

Ukrainian and Russian officials will gather again in Türkiye next week to review details and sign documents to formalize the deal, Akar added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also confirmed that there was progress on the matter, thanking the UN and Türkiye for their efforts.

He said details would be ironed out with UN chief Antonio Guterres “in the coming days.”

Guterres hailed the agreement to facilitate Ukrainian grain exports as a “ray of hope to ease human suffering and alleviate hunger around the world.”

He also emphasized that “more technical work will now be needed” to finalize a deal.

“But the momentum is clear … I’m encouraged. I’m optimistic, but it’s not yet fully done,” he said.

Türkiye-Armenia normalization

Russia stands ready to offer “all possible assistance” for normalization between Türkiye and Armenia, Zakharova also said at the news conference.

The official recalled that Russia played a key role in starting the normalization process, with the first meeting of Turkish and Armenian envoys hosted in Moscow on Jan. 14.

“We are ready to continue to support the Turkish-Armenian dialogue and extend all possible assistance to it. We believe this is in the interest of regional stability and economic prosperity,” she said.

On NATO’s imminent expansion, Zakharova emphasized that Russia will take all necessary measures if Finland and Sweden’s entry leads to the emergence of threats in the Baltic Sea.

Hüseyin Demir

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